Boris Johnson’s dinner with EU chief Ursula von der Leyen – aimed at breaking the Brexit trade deadlock – has ended without agreement.
Downing Street said “very large gaps remain” but talks will continue, with a “firm decision” by Sunday on whether a deal can be reached.
Talks between the UK’s chief negotiator Lord Frost and the EU’s Michel Barnier will resume in Brussels later.
The two negotiators also attended the three-hour dinner meeting between the two leaders. The dinner was seen as a last-ditch opportunity to work through the main sticking points and for the two sides to try and find some common ground.
Time is running out to reach a deal before 31 December, when the UK stops following EU trading rules.
Major disagreements remain on fishing rights, business competition rules and how a deal will be policed.
EU diplomats say the bloc is ready to go the extra mile during the next days of negotiations but contrary to the UK government view, the EU thinks the decision – deal or no deal – lies primarily in Downing Street.
Brexit isn’t on the official discussion agenda at an EU summit starting in Brussels later today, though leaders will be briefed on the negotiations.
Speaking before he left for Brussels, Prime Minister Borris Johnson said the EU was insisting on terms “no prime minister could accept” in relation to access to UK fishing waters and retaliatory measures if the UK diverged from EU standards.
Any deal also has to be ratified by the European Parliament and win the backing of MPs at Westminster.
The House of Commons could sit as late as Christmas Eve should it be required to look at a Brexit deal, Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said.
Under current plans, the Commons will stop sitting on 21 December.